Nursing can be a monotonous and stressful profession. Your daily routine can become so persistent and the appreciation you feel for what you do often seems minimal. While there are some that feel the paycheck should be enough, there are others who picked nursing as their profession because they wanted more than just money in the bank.
Unfortunately, nurses often give of themselves to the point where they may begin to feel defeated. They may start asking themselves “Why did I start doing this?” “What made me want to be a nurse to begin with?” “Does what I do really matter?”
In order to prevent getting to this point as a nurse, it is important that you take steps to prevent burnout. In the process you will also help to improve nursing morale. It’s not hard. It’s just a matter of being proactive and positive.
The following tips will help you prevent burnout and improve nursing morale.
If you just go into work and complete your 12 hour shifts without a goal in mind, you can bet your bottom dollar that you’re going to be burnt out! There’s something nice about familiarity but it can also make you feel like you’ve stalled. Set goals for yourself in your nursing career. It doesn’t have to be anything huge. You don’t have decide you need your PhD or anything. It could be something as simple as improving your charting efficiency. If constantly work to improve yourself as a nurse you’re less likely to get bored. You’re often likely to inspire those around you to do the same, which will boost morale.
Celebrate and Motivate Yourself and Other Nurses Everyday
Everyday as a nurse you help patients accomplish incredible things. You improve lives and the world with your actions. But unfortunately most nurses don’t take the time to acknowledge that. It’s almost as if nurses are not supposed to be proud and excited about what we do. We’re seen as “Angels in comfortable shoes” and “selfless givers.” While those images are beautiful and inspiring, we, as human beings, need to be acknowledge for the good we do.Because we do a lot of good.
I’ve written before about how we need to give each other High Fives in Healthcare. We need to give each other pats on the back. We need to celebrate and motivate each other everyday. Getting an IV stick is definitely a high five worthy occasion. And that is just one of the many opportunities you have daily to celebrate. If you can get your coworkers involved you’ll notice an improvement in the moods and attitudes of those around you.
Avoid Gossip and Lateral Violence
If there is one aspect of nursing that can kill moral it is the presence of gossip and lateral violence. Any profession that puts groups of women together can potentiate an environment of gossip and cattiness, if you allow it. One thing that you as an individual nurse can do is refuse to participate in gossip. If others are talking negatively about a coworker and ask you to chime in, you may feel tempted to be a part of the crowd and join in on the conversation. I urge you to refrain. While this may seem like a good idea at the time, it can only serve to harm you and the morale of your workplace.
Be the bigger person and say no to gossip. Politely state “I prefer not to get involved in workplace gossip.” While the initial reaction from your coworkers may be one of annoyance, in the long run they’ll likely have respect for you and you’ll have a greater respect for yourself.
Being Aware and Getting Others Involved
Being aware that the nursing profession has a huge potential for decreased morale and burnout is an excellent way to prevent it. You should also share with others this knowledge. Getting your coworkers involved in improving morale is the only way you can hold to make a positive and long-term change. You have tremendous knowledge and skills as a nurse. Use it to empower each other and create a workplace that is positive and exciting.